Britain’s Exit from the European Union Might Leave Both the U.K. and the E.U. Better Off

While uncertainty can be a prelude to catastrophe, and prolonged uncertainty can itself result in serious trouble, it’s not necessarily a sign that everything is in the process of falling apart.

One potential outcome here is that, after a little while, the panic stops, and Britain manages its exit more or less smoothly, freeing itself from the grip of European regulators while encouraging the EU, an awkwardly designed governing body which has struggled in recent years to manage its affairs, to begin the process of self-examination and eventually institute a series of reforms.

That’s the argument that British economist Andrew Lilico made recently in an interview with Vox’s Timothy Lee—that while Britain has gained from being part of the EU, both entities will be better off apart, and that the split, while upsetting to markets in the short term, will ultimately pave the way toward long-term gains for both, with the EU becoming stronger and more unified in a way that it simply couldn’t with Britain attached. Britain, in this thinking, helped set EU culture early on, but was simply too independent to ever fully integrate with the continent. Post-Brexit, basically, the EU is free to become the United States of Europe.

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